How To Wow The Judges In The Show Ring

How To Wow The Judges In The Show Ring

Katie Jerram’s Top Tips For Showing Success.

Top show rider, producer, judge and Renwick & Sons Ambassador, Katie Jerram shares her insider top tips for a show-stopping performance in the ring.

Walk On By.

Your walk is the first and last thing a show judge will see before pulling you into the line-up so make sure as soon as you enter the ring that your horse is walking out nicely and you’re sitting up straight and proud. Having that ‘look at me’ factor as you ride your horse proudly into the ring will make all the difference in your demeanour and also mental confidence. Think about relaxing your seat with a soft forward hand to allow your horse to really step out in the walk.

On The Look Out.

Make sure you are aware of other horses when riding around. If a horse is playing around, then find another space. You don’t want it setting your horse off or risking your horse getting upset as a result. As well as other horses, keep an eye on the judge and where they are looking too. If your horse is a little naughty, then move away from the judge’s eyes and work on some exercises within the pace you are being requested to do, to get his attention back and calm yourself down also so you can take a breather. Remember, you have three whole sides of the ring to sort out any issues so that you can then present your horse beautifully in front of the judge as they watch you.

Do Your Homework.

Show horses aren’t created in the show ring; they are created at home with time and patience. Make sure your horse has good manners on the ground and under saddle. Ensuring that they also don’t mind being ridden by other people is imperative if he or she is to be ridden by a judge. Neither you nor the judge wants to discover that your horse has an aversion to male or female riders so ask as many riders as possible to ride your horse before expecting a judge to ride. Everyone rides differently and will feel different to the horse (weight, height and even riding style) so its crucial that you give your horse confidence by putting different riders of all shapes and sizes on board. Even if there is only you at the yard, you could reach out to freelance instructors by recommendation and ask if they would be able to teach you as well as having a sit on your horse. Invaluable to you both.

Manners Maketh A Mare (Or Gelding).

Show horses need good manners both under saddle and on foot. From standing around in the line-up with you onboard to being ridden by the judge, being trotted up in hand and the final lap of honour. After we have ridden, we will occasionally sit onboard and chat, just so the horses get used to having us on the backs and standing still. Practising these basics at home will ensure that your horse will be better prepared for what is expected of him or her in the show ring.

Turned Out Beautifully.

Ensure that you and your horse are turned out correctly and present an attractive picture to the judge. Check the show rules and breed associations for guidelines on your clothing and correct tack and turnout for your horse. Grooming is also an essential part of my show horse routine, and both my grooms and I love using the Renwick & Sons’ kits. The grooming brushes have been instrumental in promoting their healthy, glossy coats. Even coming out of winter and their change of coat, they all looked lovely and shiny and clean including the grey horses. The grooming kit helped enormously at the early spring shows, and I’m confident they’ll be approaching HOYS looking equally as fantastic as well. Grooming your horse also allows you to check over for any small lumps, bumps and cuts which could become an issue if gone unnoticed.

Keep Plenty Of Variety.

If your horse starts anticipating, then go back to basics and give him a change of scene with some dressage or show-jumping. Our horses have plenty of diversity in their lives. Variety really is the spice of life and so whether it’s dabbling in dressage, jumping with joy or boxing up to explore a new hacking route, make sure you enjoy your time together.

Here’s to a successful showing season to you all!